Social Media is undoubtedly having a significant impact on consumer behaviour, with 75% of internet users exploring social channels to research products – and 27.9% to seek inspiration in the form of reviews or recommendations.
Therefore, having an effective organic social strategy that targets these users can help establish your brand presence, build long-term customer loyalty, and maximise lead generation efforts.
However, with new platforms like TikTok challenging industry giants, and brands across various sectors beginning to compete in the wave of organic marketing – how do you build your social strategy to stay on top?
In our latest workshop, ‘Organic Social 2023 – Trends and Opportunities for your Growth Strategy’, we asked our panel of experts Emma Eden, Senior Strategist at Finn, Fiona Leatt, Social Strategist at krow group, Sarah Jayne Adams, Head of Social at Visualsoft Ltd and Amy Airey, Communications Director of CreativeRace share their guidance on:
- Industry changes and ways audiences are engaging with brands across organic social
- The latest updates across various platforms and the challenges these present
- The major risks, considerations and advice for brands looking to drive their social presence in the new year
- Refreshing your existing organic social strategy/exploring new channels
Want to catch up on the full session? Watch the full playback here
Getting Started: Best practise advice for video-based content
With new platforms like TikTok witnessing extraordinary user growth rates year-on-year – expecting to reach 1.8 billion by 2023, and the average user bouncing between 7 different social networks per month, marketers need to be more flexible in their platform usage.
Often getting started on these on new platforms can be simpler than first thought, as Sarah says, “you don’t need anything fancy – just a smartphone. TikTok and Instagram have inbuilt video editing capabilities, so you can do everything from your smartphone.”
She adds that with short video content, “it’s about working a bit smarter, not harder. TikTok and Instagram Reels are very similar, so you can take one bit of content and upload it to both platforms.”
Round-up: 8 industry-level changes impacting your organic social strategy
Organic content can help nurture relationships with audiences and ultimately support your paid campaigns by developing brand loyalty and creditability. However, changes within industries, rising trends and new platforms force businesses to adapt the way they are engaging with audiences across organic social.
#1 – The need to build strategy into your socials
As Amy reiterates, businesses often pay less attention to their organic social strategy in comparison to paid channels that show visible results and ROI.
In Amy’s experience, "the biggest mistake we're seeing brands make at the moment with their organic social strategies is not having an organic social strategy. As well as trying to be everywhere, be everything and having different tones of voice, which lead to different messaging going out.”
#2 – A growing aversion to 'obvious' advertising
Emma states, “I've seen brand after brand go on their Instagram feed and just post conventional ads encouraging viewers to buy their products or services. Then they wonder why they're not seeing engagement or channel grow. Instead, brands need to ask themselves – what content works on each platform? And how are we going to get this content to build growth for our business?'
#3 – Longer periods of 'consideration' before purchasing
According to a recent study, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend them to others, highlighting the importance of interacting with audiences at every touchpoint – from responding to direct messages to ‘liking’ comments.
Fiona says, “we are seeing a much longer consideration phase before purchase on b2b, and we'll see the same from social. It is becoming more about the engagement and the messaging in between, as opposed to a direct convert.”
She adds in terms of audience behaviour, “we expect to see less reception to a real brand lead approach, and more seeking out value. And so, it's really about value exchange for the audience, much more so than what the brand is, but more about what actually the content of that piece delivers for them and what they see in it.”
# 4 – The rise of organic platforms for search and discoverability
Fiona also highlights the increased popularity of search and discovery on socials, “we're starting to see more of SEO integrated into social strategies and we expect more of a diversification of search overall.
# 5 – The importance of values-led, 'human' content on organic social channels
Emma states the importance of value-led content with support from research by Hootsuite, which analysed the main reasons audiences engage with particular brands, “from that the things that stood out were brands that help society or a positive contributor to society and toward this common goal.
She also adds, “if we look particularly at the Gen-Z audience you’ll find they are no longer looking for that perfect brand who hides behind every little mistake that they make. They want brands to be open and honest about every little thing.”
# 6 – A bias towards video content on social platforms
As mentioned, an organic social platform is all about building a community, creating conversations that engage users and nurture relationships, these fundamentals haven’t and probably won’t ever change.
However, Sarah highlights, “the main changes that we've seen across the platforms is how the audiences digest content, for example Pinterest, TikTok, and YouTube are now all about that short format video. Even Instagram made a massive statement to cement they are no longer a static image space.
I think a real challenge is if you're not investing in that short video content, I think you will fall behind next year.”
#7 – The need to make your strategy work smarter
Emma says, “the main thing to consider is that when we're looking at social strategy, it's not seeing it as this siloed channel that sits completely separate to the rest of your marketing, but as one tool within the entire piece.”
She adds that, “the social audiences built organically are invaluable and can transfer through to your PPC or Paid Social campaigns - you’ll find your paid channels will begin perform a lot stronger, because you're tapping into these lovely audiences.”
# 8 – Tighter purse-strings, and the importance of buy-in
Amy says, “in-house marketers should look at what they can do with one piece of content across multiple channels, that's not saying post the same thing across all platforms but consider how can you chop it up? So, you're not investing in so many different content types.
- Why are you on social?
- Why are you on each channel?
- What is it that you want to get out of this?
Brands should now understand it doesn't matter how many followers you have, it is the engagement within that community and that base, that's important.”
Why and where to invest in specialist support for your organic social strategy
Emma says, “often businesses have the perception that working with agency means you’re not going to have control anymore. In reality, agencies are partners that can help with the ‘upfront bit’ of your organic social - making sure your brand guidelines are outlined and your tone of voice is defined.”
Amy adds that, “agencies can support with the strategy side of things, looking at what performed best month-on-month and helping businesses apply this information into their content plans and strategies moving forward.”
Building on this point, Fiona highlights that “agencies tend to have a wider visibility of the category or industry you specialise in, so they’re able to pull key metrics from your own brand or social insights and reflect those imbalances against trends seen across the industry.”
Sarah says, “brands can leverage the partnerships agencies have themselves, for example partnerships with social platforms, which allows agencies to obtain updated channel insights, and share immediate best practice guidance for your social strategy to gain a head start on your competitors.
If you're investing in Organic Social Strategy in the new year, make sure you're getting the most from your time. GO! offer cost-free agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.